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Who Do You Believe?

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to a public meeting in Whangarei
St Johns Ambulance Hall, Western Hills Drive, Whangarei, 1:30pm

Who Do You Believe?

I want to deal with an issue that arises every time New Zealand First raises immigration as an issue – whether it is election time or not.

Some in the media with particular agendas see fit to label us as anti this group or anti that.

They conveniently ignore the legitimacy of us asking the questions – or the fact that we are right.

Recently we asked the very serious question about Muslim extremists in New Zealand.

The Commissioner of Police said publicly that we were right – there are those with extremist views in New Zealand.

Other experts agreed with us.

The media said we were anti-Muslim – ignoring the fact that it was Muslims who expressed their concerns about these elements to us in the first place.

So I want to clear the air once and for all.

We are not anti-Muslim. We are not anti-Asian. We are not even anti-Australian (except when we play them in rugby).

We are not anti-anybody except those who break our laws and violate our way of life.

It frustrates us that because of the media’s handling of these issues, some New Zealanders take umbrage at our strong stand – this is not our intention.

We are simply trying to protect the kiwi way of life.

Kiwis come in all different shapes and sizes.

They come from many different parts of the globe to settle here.

But once they are Kiwis – they are ours.

However, we will never be silenced into not asking the tough questions over immigration and our security.

Not ever.

Well they say the campaign has officially begun.

It actually began months ago.

But there is a clear message to come from the bidding war National and Labour are engaged in.

If you are a senior citizen and you were waiting for a fillip from either Labour or National this election, sorry – they missed you out.

If you are a New Zealand family hoping for higher wages from Labour and National, don’t hold your breath.

If you were hoping for Labour and National to finally take law and order and immigration seriously, disappointment again.

If you were hoping that the price of petrol and electricity might come down under either Labour or National – again I hate to say it, but that won’t be happening under either of the two tired old parties.

If you were waiting for and end to the ideological extremes of National and Labour – well this election they actually got worse.

If you were a small business waiting for one of the tired old parties to notice your plight – well you missed out again.

I want to tell you about National’s attitude to small business which highlights why they just don’t care.

Recently you will remember the furore which arose over timber treated by spraying with Timber Saver Boron or T1.2. This followed claims it would lead to a new round of rotting homes and leaky buildings.

The story was championed in the media by the National party’s Nick Smith.

But here is what the media didn’t know – Nick Smith and his National party colleagues were given a briefing on this timber by a local Whangarei businessman at TDC sawmills.

This is a company which employs 300 people locally – but like all of these types of business, is reliant on the market for its product.

When that product is discredited – as this type of treated timber was – then the business suffers and jobs are at risk.

Now here’s the thing: The timber has been given the all clear by the government agencies monitoring it.

But National – so desperate for publicity and with no concern for small business – rushed to take the cheap political shot rather than the considered position which would not put this local business at risk.

And it was the local National MP who sat back and watched all of this unfold.

Examples like this highlight why it is those who are desperately clinging to the New Zealand lifestyle who are under threat from both tired old parties.

Fortunately there is an alternative.

I want to talk about three reasons why Labour and National have failed New Zealanders and why New Zealand First is the only real alternative.

The first reason is that the plans outlined by both tired old parties fail to lift wages.

We have far too many New Zealanders who still earn around $10 an hour.

These are the people who actually have to get their hands dirty when they go to work.

They work hard, and expect a fair week’s pay at the end of the week.

Labour knows these workers don’t earn enough – but rather than increase their wages, they simply make welfare beneficiaries out of them, by giving back a bit of their tax in handouts – around $40 a week.

How inspiring is that?

What this does is trap them into welfare dependency – they can’t afford to earn too much more because all of their benefit is put at risk.

National offers them a miserly tax cut of around $10 a week – but by doing so places all of the social services they value at risk.

Education, health and other aspects of our social services are all at risk under National – whether they are honest about it or not.

You only have to remember back to the early 1990’s when Ruth Richardson had her way with the economy to see where things are heading under National.

It was you who suffered – not National’s mates.

When Don Brash wakes in the morning and says “Mirror Mirror on the Wall” – it is Ruth Richardson’s face which is looking back at him.

They are kindred spirits.

The key is that under both Labour and National many working class men and women will still be earning around $10 an hour.

We say they deserve more.

We want to lift wages – across all the work force, and we will start by lifting the minimum wage to $12 an hour.

A simple increase of $2 an hour would see this workers wages rise by $80 a week.

How much better is that, than having to rely on welfare or on a tiny tax cut?

That is why New Zealand First is the only choice for real change.

The others keep wages low – we want them to rise.

Now we will facilitate this in two ways.

The first is by lowering the business rate of tax to 30 cents.

This will be combined with reducing red tape and the invasive bureaucracy which is stifling business in New Zealand.

We will also improve productivity by ensuring that research and development is tax deductible.

But the key driver of New Zealand’s economic future must be exports.

Next Friday week on the 2nd of September we will be announcing our export plan in full – including huge tax incentives for new export growth and a comprehensive export plan.

Now the second reason Labour and National have both failed New Zealanders is that far too many New Zealanders actually miss out under their plans.

Our seniors get so little from the largesse that both are throwing at their mates it is insulting.

We have heard too many stories this winter of seniors citizens struggling to cope with soaring power prices, doctors visits that still cost too much and not enough income to really do any more than just survive.

This is not good enough from a nation which claims first world status.

Now National is trying to peddle the lie that its tax cuts will deliver more for seniors.

They know it will not because of the way the formulae is calculated.

So now National is saying they will actually raise the level of superannuation to a higher level to off-set the formulae.

That is what New Zealand First has been saying all along – and they called us irresponsible for doing it.

The difficulty is that it is not nearly generous enough – it is only about half of what New Zealand First is proposing and it is only for one year.

The only real way to lift the living standards of seniors is by raising the rate of superannuation as a percentage of the Net Average Wage.

Labour just simply doesn’t care – they will do nothing.

But seniors must not be lured into National’s false promises.

Remember 1990 – “no if, no buts, no maybes” over the superannuation surcharge.

The only real policy alternative for seniors is our Golden Age Card – which is both comprehensive and generous. And rightfully so. After all, it is what seniors deserve.

Now there is a third reason why both National and Labour’s policies fail New Zealanders and it relates to who owns our country, our land and our assets.

National have raised the ugly spectre of further assets sales in this election and we intend to make clear our position on these matters.

During the 1980s and 90s, thirty-nine state assets were sold under the pretext of reducing debt – for a total of $19 billion – and debt was not reduced.

We are now involved in the process of buying some of them back.

The vast majority of the profits of foreign companies are paid out to their overseas owners.

In fact we now loose over $12 billion dollars a year in dividends to foreign investors.

That’s money being drained directly from our economy.

Our land continues to be sold. Seventy percent of our forestry is in foreign ownership.

New Zealand First is not opposed to foreign investment but the line has been clearly drawn.

This investment must stand the test of being to New Zealand's advantage.

New Zealand First has also stood firm against state asset sales to majority foreign ownership to protect the national interest.

The cost to our party was considerable, but unlike others, our principles are not for sale.

New Zealand First has a plan to deal with this matter in our foreign investment strategy:

It starts from the premise that the private interest of foreign shareholders is not our concern, the public interest of New Zealanders is.

We will

- establish priorities for foreign investment in New Zealand that require such investment to bring new technology and lead to employment and export growth;

- promote the creation of an internal investment/savings base to provide a clear alternative to foreign credit for the development of New Zealand infrastructure and business, and develop the superannuation fund as one means of achieving this;

- ensure that the government has first right-of-refusal on the resale of any former state assets, in particular 'infrastructure' assets;

- direct the guardians of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to prioritise the purchasing of shares in New Zealand infrastructure companies, particularly when they are being sold by overseas investors, with the aim of building a solid base of New Zealand ownership of these assets. This shall be conducted at arms length, with no ministerial interference, and at the discretion of the guardians so as not to distort the market;

- require the fund managers to invest in New Zealand infrastructure and growth industries including making funds available at competitive interest rates to Land Transport New Zealand, New Zealand Railways Corporation, and local government for capital projects;

- stop state asset sales. If considered appropriate, and only where necessary, public assets currently in the hands of the Government will be commercially managed in the public interest and ownership;

- limit foreign investment in strategic assets to 24.9%;

- review the process of local government sales of infrastructure assets;

- strike a balance between preserving the nation's infrastructure in New Zealand hands and ensuring that New Zealand enterprises can enter partnerships with international agencies for their mutual benefit;

- build on the 1997 New Zealand First initiative to drastically reduce the sales of land to foreigners each year; and,

- establish a new organisation, the Investment Commission, independent of the Reserve Bank, to take over the functions of the old Overseas Investment Commission (OIC) and some of the tasks of the current Commerce Commission.

Who owns our land and our assets matters.

Sadly we are the only party which seems to think so.

Both National and Labour have sold us out – and far too cheaply at that – and we are paying the price for this now.

When it is in New Zealand hands we all benefit – when it is foreign hands they benefit.

We have a policy which benefits all New Zealanders.

And that is why this election we are your only choice for change.

A change for the better.


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